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The Freedom Outlaw's Handbook, by Claire Wolfe

The question seems to be on everyone's mind these days; and I'm certain Claire Wolfe is tired (although likely still just a bit pleased) of being asked it. If you don't know what I'm talking about, it's a reference to the opening line of Wolfe's book, 101 Things to Do 'Til the Revolution:

America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards.
The question, then, is "Is it still too early to shoot the bastards?" Somewhat surprisingly (particularly after having co-authored The State vs. the People with Aaron Zelman), Wolfe is still answering in the affirmative -- but that doesn't mean she's meekly accepting the increasing totalitarianism. The Freedom Outlaw's Handbook offers many ideas for action -- 179 of 'em, as the book's subtitle states.

This oversized trade paper book replaces and updates much of the material found in two previous books, the aforementioned 101 Things and Don't Shoot the Bastards (Yet), both of which are out of print. If you're thinking something like, "Waitaminute ... wasn't Don't Shoot an update of 101 Things?", you're right; it was. This updating was done in a somewhat different fashion, though. Wolfe has identified three types of pro-freedom activists, and classifies tactics by which type(s) can pursue them. Also, she gives credit to many participants on The Claire Files forum for ideas and resources, so the material goes beyond her own ideas and research.

Wolfe begins by describing her three "DisOrders", as she calls the classes of pro-freedom activist, and acknowledges that these are flexible labels, as individuals often choose different activist tactics for differing areas and at different times in life. Each activist suggestion is headed with the graphic of the DisOrder(s) for which it's suited, making it easy to focus on a particular one if desired. Thought-provoking quotations from diverse sources separate each item as well. Many contain URLs for online resources, which is very handy. My only complaint is that since they're the same font as the rest of the text -- and often interspersed with it -- a reader can fairly easily lose his place while trying to type in a long, complicated URL.

For someone who's already read the two books The Freedom Outlaw's Handbook is based on, much of the material will be familiar -- perhaps too familiar to justify spending around $20 for it. Much of what's new a serious Wolfe fan will likely have figured out for himself, leaving only those new web resources as possible gems awaiting discovery. Despite the book's relative freshness, some of the privacy suggestions are of questionable utility in an age of massive data-mining and cross-linking. That says more about how the situation is rapidly changing than anything, though; and if you're a hardcore Claire Wolfe fan, The Freedom Outlaw's Handbook will be worth the cash outlay, for the fresh infusion of Wolfe's spirited prose alone. If you have a friend who's just awakened his or her Inner Anarchist, it's a good introduction to the how-to side of the freedom philosophy. If you're broke, or simply cannot squeeze another book onto a shelf, you can visit The Claire Files forum and obtain a lot of similar (plus much more) information there. Although some individuals have left the forum over personal differences (yours truly being one of them), it is an unusually tolerant environment, provided one isn't a troll or similarly small-minded participant.

The Freedom Outlaw's Handbook is another solid work by Wolfe, who seems to have been recharged of late and is in good form here. I expect this book will go the way of its ancestors -- becoming highly sought after in some circles and fetching premium prices even on the used markets. Don't wait too long to pick up your copy.

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